The current project: 90-day remake challenge!

The current project: 90-day remake challenge!
Trying to inhabit the body that's been there all along

Saturday, June 20, 2009

After the Master Cleanse: Retrospections and instructions

So, my official post-cleanse weight is. . . 158.5. That means I dropped 12.5 lbs in 12 days, which is three pounds shy of the amount of weight I dropped in, roughly, 120 days on Nutrisystem. That is absolute craziness. Now, to see if I can keep it off.

I expect some initial gain, just because of introducing actual calories into my body. I will try not to freak out about this. According to proponents of the raw food diet, you will continue to lose weight until you reach your natural, intended weight.

So, obviously I am ecstatic with the weight loss results. As for health results, I feel great. My skin is smoother, my gall bladder feels great (though I haven’t given it anything to be upset about yet), I feel very balanced and in a great disposition, my stomach has flattened noticeably and my energy level is exceptional. I probably could have stood to continue on the cleanse a few more days, but I’m not too worried about that since I will continue to detox through eating raw foods.

All in all, if someone were to ask me if this is a cleanse I recommend, I would say yes, without reservation. However, it IS difficult, both mentally and physically, and you do need immense will power and strong resolve. I recommend prayer, but if you’re not into that, then something to distract you from food and thoughts of food is important. Try having a toddler. That also worked for me.

I definitely learned how to handle hunger in a whole new way and was surprised how well my body functioned on no food and minimal calories. I would also make it clear how awful the SWF component is, but I think it is absolutely essential. Without it, you are not really getting all that loosened stuff out of your system. So, it’s just one of those things that sucks, but you do it cause you know it’s good for you. Like eating your broccoli (though I personally LOVE broccoli).

So, here is the exact regimen I used, for anyone who might be interested in replicating my cleanse. I based my cleanse on a variety of sources, grounded in the original book by Stanley Burroughs, titled, “The Master Cleanser.”

I decided not to do an ease-in, but if you feel like you need it, then you should do the following:

Day 1 on ease-in—Raw fruits and vegetables
Day 2 on ease-in—Raw fruit and vegetable juices
Day 3 on ease-in—Fresh squeezed OJ, diluted with water and with Grade B maple syrup. Drink 2 liters. 16 ounces of OJ mixed with 16 ounces of purified water and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup comprises 1 liter. Drink two of these over the course of the day, and lots of water, of course.

On the evening of Day 3, you should drink a cup of laxative tea. I used Yogi’s “Get Regular” and liked the flavor and the result. It was mild, but did its work.

Day 1 of Master Cleanse (MC)—Start the day with a SWF (salt water flush). This consists of drinking 32 ounces of water mixed with 2 teaspoons of sea salt (I used Celtic Sea Salt). The water should be room temperature; cold water makes the experience that much more intolerable. Guzzle it down as fast as you can, and try not to think of how awful it is.

After you have gotten it down, work on preparing your lemonade. I tried to juice all my lemon juice for the day so I wouldn’t have to clean my juicer more than once. This is the recipe: 14 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice, 14 tablespoons of organic Grade B maple syrup (you really should try to get Grade B, as it has much more of the nutrients you need than Grade A) and ½ teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper. Divide this recipe between two 32 ounce water bottles and fill the rest with purified water (so, 7 of lemon, 7 of maple syrup and ¼ of pepper and rest water for each bottle). Personally, I only made up one lemonade at a time (though I saved the lemon juice for the next batch in the refrigerator) because the longer the cayenne pepper sits around, the spicier your lemonade will be. Drink your lemonade throughout the day as you have any urge for food whatsoever. Wash it down with several gulps of water.

Always end the night with a cup of laxative tea.

Day 2 – 10 of MC—Repeat steps of Day 1.

Day 1 - 3 of ease-out—Reverse the ease-in. So on the first day, you start with the OJ. Then, you move on to fruit/veggie juices. Then, you move on to raw fruits and veggies. You can continue to drink the laxative tea at night as it helps to move things along.

This is the regimen I followed exactly. Not once did I forgo the SWF or not get it all down (except for the last day when I accidentally upchucked the last swig of it). I believe if you follow this to the letter, you WILL have success.

I would highly recommend doing the cleanse with a buddy. I tried this, but my buddy didn’t even make it one day before cheating with some sugar cookies. The problem was that she looked at the cleanse as a “diet.” It isn’t a diet and if you treat it that way, you are flirting with disappointment. Yes, you will lose weight. But, being focused on the necessity of cleaning out your body is what keeps you from indulging on whatever temptation might be lurking. At least, that’s what worked for me. Remember, your will-power is only as strong as the meaning behind what you’re doing. If you’re doing the cleanse merely for weight loss, then you are more likely to give it up to find an easier diet, which you will convince yourself you will try instead, even though you probably won't. If you are doing the cleanse to rid your body of toxins and waste, then you are more likely to stick with it cause you know that to cheat will ruin any progress you’ve made and put you back to square one on the cleansing board. It would be like trying to spring clean your house while there is a frat kegger going on in it . . . very counter-productive.

But buddy or buddy-less, you can do it! Your brain is an amazing organ of power and control. Use it and be marveled at how much you rock!

Day 12: June 19, 2009

Current weight: 159.5 (That’s 11.5 lbs. lost in 11 days!)

So, I’m thrilled that my little splurges yesterday did not translate to weight gain, though I guess I sound like I have the neurotic obsession of a supermodel even worrying about such a thing (two dates, some cacao nips, and a raw chocolate/goji truffle hardly add up to weight gain). But, some of the criticisms of this cleanse are that it screws with your metabolism and you eventually gain all the weight back. I aim to debunk that criticism since a) my metabolism could really not get any worse than it already is, and b) I am going to institute healthy eating habits for the foreseeable future to combat any post-cleanse gaining.

I decided that I was going to vamp up my ease-out and drink fresh juices today, other than just OJ. So, I started the morning with the following concoction, and it was one of the best juices I’ve ever made.

2 Red Delicious Apples
3 handfuls of baby carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 lemon, peeled

I think it was the lemon that really made it exceptional. For lunch, I had a veggie juice: carrot, spinach, lemon, and celery. I’ve had this juice before without the lemon, and I would probably leave it out next time. It made it taste almost salty to me, and I am SO anti-salt right now.

I was definitely uncomfortably weak and hungry today. The main problem is that I just drank these two 16 ounces of juice (32 ounces total) and nothing else. I really should have juiced every couple of hours to keep my blood sugar up. But, it is quite a hassle to clean out the juicer several times a day. Plus, during the afternoon, I had to go the grocery store to get fruit for a tropical fruit salad I was making for book club later that evening and then, of course, I had to come home and chop everything up. So, I had no calories for several hours, and that was really hard on me. I’m really glad I did the MC and not a water fast. I can’t imagine getting no calories at all. I would have been writhing on the floor in agony.

I’ve never shopped healthier than my shopping trip today. My entire cart was packed with fresh produce. I also got a few freeze-dried herbs (for those I couldn’t find fresh), which I will use until my herb garden comes in. I guess freeze-dried herbs are as close to fresh as you can get. I sure paid for the close to freshness; they were a bit pricey. The unhealthiest thing I bought was a half gallon of skim milk—at Jere’s request. I wonder if he’ll ever get into my homemade nut milk. If so, I might die of shock.

So, my fruit salad seemed to be a hit. Not everyone tried it, but for those who did, I got nice compliments. I decided it was high time to get something in my stomach, so I officially ended my fast around 8:00 PM and indulged in three plates of fruit salad.

Tropical fruit salad recipe (all fruits should be fresh):


Coconut milk, one can (I used canned, without any additives, since I couldn’t find any young coconuts)
Basil, to taste
Agave nectar, about 1 teaspoon or to taste
Vanilla beans, from one pod
Fresh squeezed lime juice, from one lime

Mix all together. It’s a pretty nice, refreshing and different fruit salad. And it’s entirely raw vegan!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my final post-cleanse weight, in addition to cleanse instructions for anyone who might want to try it for themselves. I will also write some of my conclusions about my overall experience. I can give you a foretaste, though, and tell you that they will be pretty positive. I think the Master Cleansers all the world over have a new disciple! Even my husband, who is rather skeptical of anything too far out in left field, said that I looked amazing. He said that it wasn’t just the weight loss, which was obvious, but that I had a glowing about me. I took this as the highest praise possible for the cleanse. First of all, Jere never even told me I was “glowing” my whole 42 weeks of pregnancy. And second, Jere generally doesn’t comment on my physical or spiritual appearance unless prodded. He even said, “Maybe I should try that cleanse.” Will miracles never cease?

The Master Cleanse accomplished. Check it off the list. Next up: the 30 day raw food challenge.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 11: June 18, 2009

Drum roll please. . . . padapadapadpapadapadapadapadaPAD. . . (that was the drum roll, if you hadn’t figured it out.)

And my official post-lemon juice weight is: 161.5.

Darn it. Just missed losing ten pounds by half a stupid pound.

Okay, so it’s not as dramatic as some. Some people report they have lost 20 lbs or more, but I’m happy with 9.5 and am pretty confident that I’ll continue to lose over the next two days before I start introducing solid foods. To think that I only lost 15.5 lbs. over roughly four months on Nutrisystem (with a cheat here and there due to trips or a holiday) contrasted with losing 9.5 lbs. in 10 days. That’s pretty significant, I’d say.

I’m sure I will gain back some water weight, but my hope is that going straight to a raw food diet for (at least) 30 days will help me continue to lose and feel energized, while keeping the inevitable post-cleanse pounds from creeping back on. A major goal of the cleanse is to get your body to a point where it naturally craves healthier foods—a goal which I am close to hitting. It is such a waste for people to do this cleanse to lose a couple of quick, easy pounds and then go right back to the way they were eating (and drinking) before.

This morning was a blessing if only because I didn’t have to worry about ingesting any salt whatsoever. As I was juicing my oranges, I saw my Celtic Gray sea salt in its Ball Jar sitting there menacingly on the counter, and I felt like taunting it. Bad salt! I know it’s not the salt’s fault, but I still have a gag reflex going on when I think about those stupid SWFs. After reading several blogs about MC experiences, it seems the norm rather than the exception that people really CAN’T gear up for the SWFs every day. So, I feel happy that I was the exception and followed the cleanse as it was intended to the letter. It definitely proved itself successful when followed as it was engineered.

So, after giving myself props for following the cleanse, I should turn around and shame myself for not following the ease-out as it was written. I kinda inserted my common sense into the ease-out, instead of just doing what Burroughs suggested, which DIDN’T make a lot of sense to me. The traditional ease-out regimen instructs two days of orange juice followed by a combo of juice and raw fruits and veggies on the third day. Well, I theorized that just drinking straight orange juice all day would be incredibly bad for my blood sugar and also not good for my hunger, since it would probably have less calories than the “lemonade,” which had 14 tablespoons of maple syrup a day. So, after perusing some blogs about ease-out to get some ideas, I decided to halve my orange juice with water (to dilute some of the natural sugars) and add two tablespoons of maple syrup (to provide extra calories and vitamins/minerals). So, my recipe was 16 ounces of fresh-squeezed Valencia orange juice (about 5 oranges) and 16 ounces of purified water with 2 ounces of maple syrup, and I planned to drink two liters of these, plus unlimited water, throughout the day. That seemed to work pretty well; however, because of some unscheduled activities we did with Kaya and her cousins this afternoon, I wasn’t able to drink my second liter of orange juice until around 6:30 P.M. By that time, I was very depleted of energy and pretty shaky. I definitely waited too long.

I did cheat on the ease-out four times today, and I don’t feel bad about it cause it didn’t do me any harm digestively (which is the main concern with ease-out. . . to prepare your stomach again for food). I got one of my raw food packages in the mail and there were a couple of things I HAD to try. The first were raw cacao nibs. I sampled just a few—maybe seven in all—and was delighted by their bitter, nutty, and deep chocolatey flavor. Then, I opened my Raw Goji Love Truffles. I decided that I really should try one out; after all, I deserved it and they ARE healthy for you. So, I partook. It was definitely not a Godiva truffle, but it was still gratifying and tasted real and not manufactured. Later in the afternoon, we took a family outing (after Kaya spent some quality time in the Barbie “motorized” Mobile with her cousins) to the local health food store and I loaded up on Medjool dates. I read a very enticing NPR article about this type of date that urged me to try one as soon as I was in its presence, which I did. It was just as amazing as the writer described. ( It feels like you’re eating a caramel chew, only, again, natural and not manufactured. I fantasized about eating another one for the next couple of hours and finally succumbed to the inner urge. I think I found a new addiction.

I'm interested in what my weight will be tomorrow morning. I wonder if I’ll continue to lose. Of course, because I “cheated” on the ease-out, my guilty diet-breaking conscience assumes that I’ve probably gained back all the weight I lost. I told this thought to Jere and he said, “You’ve got problems.” I know he’s right.

Well, one more day of ease-out and I get to start the next adventure: the raw food 30 day challenge. Should be fun. I got my seed sprouter and a few varieties of seeds to sprout today. How did I get so weird? It seemed to have happened overnight, but I know I’ve been on the journey to weirdness for some time. I guess I’ve finally arrived.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 10: June 17, 2009

(In the style of Chris Berman) And she could. . . go. . . all. . .the. . . way!

I have been doing the lindy hop all day in celebration of my last SWF, which, by the way, did not go all the way down. I’ve been close to upchucking it several times the last 9 days, but finally on day 10, I failed at controlling the gag reflex, despite my best efforts. So, that last little bit of salt water never made it to its destination, but rather ended up in the sink. No matter. I still drank enough salt water to do its intended job, if you get my drift.

So, my tongue is still coated with a white-greyish layer, and I am still expelling solid stuff, so more than likely, I am not totally “clean” yet. That apparently indicates I should go a couple more days. However, I am definitely not going to do that. I am done and waving the white flag. I know that most of my hunger is probably psychological at this point, but there is nothing mental about your tummy rumbling. At least I don’t think so. . . well, come to think of it. What DOES it mean when your stomach growls? I’m gonna look it up right now. Pause. Type, type, type. Browse. Hmmm, interesting. According to the Mayo Clinic, my hypothalamus has sent hunger signals to my stomach, which in turn has triggered muscle contractions and “the release of acids and other digestive fluids.” That crazy hypothalamus. I guess “mind over matter” doesn’t always work. Some stuff is just physiological.

As I write this, I am finishing up my last liter of “lemonade.” I’ll go out on a limb and predict that I won’t miss it. I also will not miss the tongue burning and fuzzy teeth side effects of the lemonade. It has already been established, numerous times already, that I will NOT miss the SWF. I don’t even know if I’ll be able to USE table salt after that overexposure.

I just saw on ad for an egg and cheese melt, or something equally diabolical, for 99 cents at Dunkin’ Donuts. I would love that in my belly right about now. But, truthfully, when I think about what my body needs, it is healthy foods that I crave. Last night, I made black beans with soy crumbles and brown rice. I could have eaten the heck out of that. Tonight, I made gardenburgers and (baked) sweet potato fries. Oh yeah. Equally devour-worthy.

It takes a little wind out of my sails to know that I will not be having solids for two more days. I’ve got two more days of juice, albeit fresh juice sans cayenne pepper, which should make it a bit more palatable. But, I will be thrilled to bite into anything come Saturday, even if it is lettuce, carrots and celery all the day long (which I don’t predict will be my first meal in 12 days. . . I’ll keep you posted!).

For those who are eager to know what my final post-cleanse weight loss is, I will be posting it tomorrow, since that will technically be the end of the cleanse. . . I’m curious to see how the “ease-out” will affect the weight loss, so I’ll probably post about that, too. The reason I didn’t post my weight again after Day 3 is because every other weigh-in was pretty anti-climactic—a pound here, a half a pound there. Apparently, that first batch of water weight being lost is the most dramatic, in addition to whatever else got flushed along with it.

Well, I’ve got some more lindy hopping to do, so I’ll call it a night. Day 10 done. Master cleanse, part 1, officially over. Wowsers. Someone oughta send me to Disney World.

Day 9: June 16, 2009

Nothing too substantial to report today. I woke up early from a very aggressive smell. Sorry to call out my husband, but it was him. He smelled like sickness: mucous and sore throat. It was burning my nose so bad—and my sinuses, eyes, and forehead—that I couldn’t get back to sleep. I kept telling him to turn on his side away from me so that the smell wouldn’t be as pervasive. That only worked until he fell asleep and then rolled on his back or on his side facing me. I turned on the overhead fan. I opened two windows. My eyes were still watering. I kid you not; it was that menacing.

Finally, I heard Kaya waking up, so I called it a night and got out of bed. In retrospect, I should have just moved to the couch, but our bed is so comfy. When I went back in the bedroom an hour later, it smelled like a hospital, without the Clorox and medicine (only the germy sickness) so I opened up two more windows. I think I also must have let out an annoyed sigh because Jere finally woke up. He asked me what was wrong and I asked, “Are you sick or something? Cause you really smell like it.” He said, “Well, I have a sore throat and my nose is stuffed up.” I should have just left it at that, but I guess I was a little cranky from being woken up abruptly by my olfactory. I said, “Yeah, I could tell. You smell awful.” Jere said, “I’m sorry.” And then I felt bad. I explained to him that it wasn’t his fault but that this cleanse seems to really make your sense of smell more acute. I felt mean, so I quit the room and left the poor, sick, smelly man alone.

We got the payment for my new toys worked out, so my blender and dehydrator are currently en route. YAY!!! It’s so cool that you can do online tracking now, so that you know roughly where your items are at any given moment. It’s kind of neat to think of my little dehydrator on some truck coming up the New Jersey turnpike and my super-powered blender coming on its long trek east from Los Angeles. Oh, technology.

I had a good day today. It was beautiful outside, so Kaya and I spent some nice time out there. I love the sun and fresh air so, but I really have a problem with insects, especially those that buzz close to your head and then crawl around on various appendages. For the rest of the day, I had the creepy crawlies and kept on feeling invisible bugs crawling all over me, especially my scalp. Yes, I should probably be committed. It doesn’t help that we have an ant infestation (tiny food ants) in our living room. I set out 8 traps, but they are wily little guys and good climbers. They keep on crawling up the ottoman to try and get a sip of my lemonade. Maybe I should let them try it. A tiny sip might be the best pesticide there is. I even found one when I opened my laptop this morning. Now, how in the heck did he get in there? And what was he doing? Was he emailing all his friends to start a revolution, originating in my living room? I can imagine one tiny little ant dressed like Che Guevara. Hahahaha.

Well, I’m excited to have only one day left, and more specifically, one SWF left. I will probably do the cleanse again sometime—maybe once or twice a year, depending how icky I feel on the inside. But, the SWF will definitely be the biggest deterrent. They might want to try that at Guantanamo, instead of the water boarding.

Well, I’ll be off cause I’ve got books to read. . . I currently have four books that I am actively reading and several others that I am in the middle of, which are currently out of the rotation. One of the current four, “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society,” (which I highly recommend—a wonderful book) needs to be completed by Friday, as I have a book club meeting that night. I kinda like having deadlines and this blog to complete everyday. It almost feels like I’m back in school again (without the grades, which were my favorite part, actually. I’m such an affirmation whore).

Anyway, a good night to whoever is out there reading this, if anyone. Day 9, and feeling fine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 8: June 15, 2009

A dreary, rainy day. . . but it has only affected my mood minimally. Largely, I am just so amazed that I have made it this far. The end is in sight. I’m going to make it.

I hit a snag ordering my raw food materials. The credit card we were trying to use had a hold on it, so I will probably not be able to get my stuff until the end of next week. Because I’ve made it through eight days of not eating, I shouldn’t be worried about a week of having to eat minimalist raw food creations. But, I am, somehow. My ongoing problem is that when I get bored with healthy eating and have exhausted all the healthy recipes I know, I start making concessions here and there, and that’s always a slippery slope. Pretty soon, I’m eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

So, my goal over the next few days is to find raw food recipes that don’t require a dehydrator or a super-powered blender. I have another major challenge coming up that I didn’t realize until tonight: I have an out-of-town training next weekend. I will most likely be doing the trip solo, and I don’t want to have to live on salads the whole weekend. Of course, I can always bring fruits, which are an easy raw snack. If my dehydrator comes before I leave, then I can stock up on homemade goodies that don’t have to be refrigerated. I will have to plan excessively and most assuredly bring a cooler, and perhaps even ask for a fridge for the hotel room.

My energy level, while a bit decimated by the weather, was still high enough to get me to the gym. I had a pretty good work out, including warm-up and weights, and was able to get more rigorous on the treadmill. I did a random 40 minute cardio, with a constant 3.5 mph and a varied incline ranging from 2.9 – 5.9. I definitely worked up a good sweat and felt great during and after. Unfortunately, as of 4:00 PM, I had only made it through one liter of lemonade and didn’t bring my second liter with me to the gym. I definitely pushed myself beyond uncomfortable when I went to the grocery store after the gym, still sans lemonade. By the time I got home at 6:20, I was very weak, so weak, in fact, that I couldn’t really string two thoughts together, never mind sentences. I was most definitely working on negative calories; I probably burned close to 400 at the gym, plus whatever calorie burnage happens during normal daily activity, and only took in about 250 with the one jug of lemonade. Probably not the smartest idea.

I had another experience of freaky heightened olfactory sensation. There was a guy that got on a few treadmills down from me who was emitting a very strong offensive smell. No, he had not passed gas, which would be the most logical conclusion on your part. Rather, he smelled mucousy sick, like a sinus infection or an upper respiratory infection. Sure enough, about two minutes into his work-out, he started hacking up a lung and he continued this for the rest of the time that I was next to him. Besides the SWF, I would say my new bionic smelling is my least favorite side effect of this cleanse. (If you’re confused by this, just think how intense poopy diapers and a flatulent husband would be in my current state.)

I had the tiniest of cheats today, so miniscule that it hardly counts, but I’ll include it anyway. I made spaghetti with a roasted garlic, herb, and olive oil sauce. I lightly dipped the tip of my finger in the olive oil blend and rubbed it on my tongue to see what I was missing. Oh boy, it tasted good. But, seeing all that delicious spaghetti soaking in olive oil and garlic was almost enough to drive me crazy. Of course, Kaya only had two bites and was done with it. And Jere got working on projects and didn’t get to eat till very late, which means I had to sit here for hours knowing all that tasty spaghetti was just sitting there. It was the most tempted I have been so far. I was obsessed with thinking about how gratifying it would be to chomp away on the somewhat chewy texture of the al dente pasta, mixed with the savory garlic sauce speckled with those earthy herbs. I prayed for strength, drank my tea and then sulked in bed as I tried to distract myself with a book. It only partially worked since I could smell that garlic sauce all night long. As excited as I am to try courgette (zucchini) strands with sun-dried tomato sauce (raw foodist’s version of spaghetti), I don’t think it’ll ever come close to a big ol’ bowl of spaghetti (the unhealthy white kind) slathered in olive oil, garlic, and parmesan. If there’s anything better, I want to know about it.

Well, just two more days of SWFs and lemonade left. I bought my oranges today in preparation for the next phase of the cleanse. It’ll be a welcome change. I’ll sign off for now, with day 8 conquered.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 7: June 14, 2009

This will not be a long post today, as I’m busy with raw food recipe exploration and distracted by my immersion in “My Sister’s Keeper.” Jere has given me the go-ahead to make a sizable investment in some raw food tools, such as a dehydrator and blender, in addition to some uncook books. I’m also going to order some ingredients that are hard to find in our little podunk town, such as raw cacao powder, cacao nibs and Goji berries. Hubby rocks for his continued support of my continued weirdness.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to experiment with the raw food world and make some yummy living foods. Back when Jere bought me the juicer (during one of the many times my gallbladder quit working), I had to learn how to cook all over again, since I gave up all wheat, gluten and dairy. The evolution to raw will be even more extreme. But, my experience being a gluten-free flexible vegan (I used eggs in some baked goods) was fun; I discovered a lot of tasty recipes. Perusing the net today, I found a great-looking recipe for raw lasagna (using sweated and marinated zucchini as the noodles with a walnut cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce) and a chocolate-raspberry torte that looks to die for.

The raw food movement is getting pretty trendy, which means that there are bound to be more available resources in the upcoming months and years. I read in a raw food newsletter that there is a new raw restaurant opening in Salt Lake City, which we will have to check out when we go to visit my cousin out there. I looked at the menu, and the food sounds amazing. If only there was hope of someday having a raw food restaurant in Vermont or even New Hampshire. I wouldn’t mind traveling a few hours to eat the food. Perhaps there’s a slight chance that Burlington will eventually have one. . . after all, it’s a pretty progressive town. Maybe I’ll have to open it myself! : )

I’ve had great energy today, again, and just hungry a few times. . . usually when I was preparing food, like the English muffin pizzas for Kaya’s lunch (mmmm, comfort food). I’ve noticed a couple of new things that I had read about but didn’t believe would actually happen to me: 1) people smell weird. . . like mucous and sickness and lard; and 2) there is a fairly revolting thick, white layer on my tongue, which is apparently common amongst detoxers. (I thought that I could scrub off the layer with my toothbrush, but to no avail. The word is that when you’re finally “clean,” your tongue will return to its normal pink color.)

As eager as I am to taste food again and be done with this lemonade which I’ve grown weary of, I would actually contemplate doing the cleanse longer if I felt I wasn’t clean by the end of 10 days. Unfortunately, I think I might run into a snag because I only have limited amounts of Grade B Maple Syrup and no idea where I might get more. The stuff I currently have I had to order online. Oh darn. I guess I’m gonna have to start eating again. What a bummer.

But, all in all, I am amazed how easy it has been NOT to eat. The second day was hard, but other than that, it has been easier than I ever would have imagined. Admittedly, a lot of my will-power and resolve has been strengthened through prayer. And seeing as I didn’t have a whole lot of will-power to start with, I know that God gave it a heavy dose of fortification at my request. For me, the hardest part still lies ahead—making the dietary changes necessary to lead a healthy life every single day. This cleanse has helped me realize how my diet and health are inextricably weaved with my spirituality. I hope this is knowledge I can impart to other people; so few people see eating as a spiritual matter.

I guess that’ll wrap up day 7. I’m on the homeward stretch now. One more note: I was able to drink the entire SWF in one series of swigs, without ever putting it down. That translated to only one gag reflex instead of three or four. Yipee! (I don’t think I’ll ever think of salt or the ocean or pretzels in quite the same way.) Sayonara.

Day 6: June 13, 2009

And the word of the day is: temptation.

I woke up running today; not literally, of course, but I sprung out of bed and got swiftly moving on making our house more presentable than it was at the moment (lots of “m’s” in that sentence). My mom had called the day before and let us know that she and my step dad, or “the folks,” were coming up for a day visit. Commence kicking it into high gear.

Since I’ve been cleaning all week, I didn’t have glaring work, but it seems there are endless cleaning projects that you discover once you anticipate another set of eyes examining the place. Plus, there is also the aforementioned basement beyond hope. However, within just a matter of hours, I was able to make our humble abode far more attractive, even the basement.

Jere, Kaya, and I spent a very nice day with the folks. The real purpose of their trip was to drop off Kaya’s new sandbox, which she affectionately calls “Melmo” (Elmo) since it is red and has black eyes (it’s supposed to be a crab). Because I’m a little bit nuts, I’ve refused the sand that my “Pops” bought for it because it has silica in it, so we’re going to have to take out a loan against our house to afford the “safe sand” that won’t give our child even the whisper of cancer. I love my Pops beyond measure; he is truly another dad to me and has been for most of my life. But, he is a tad old-fashioned and thinks that my resolve to buy “organic,” to raise my child a flexible “vegan” (what’s life without a little bit of ice cream here and there?) and for my insistence on “safe sand” is worthy of committal to the nearest loony bin. I probably don’t have to describe his reaction to my 12 day fast/cleanse and my raw food challenge. (Food isn’t really cooked for my Pops unless the vegetable has been boiled for several hours and acquired a nice gray color.) Well, in spite of the occasional poke of fun and rolling of the eyes, he still humors me because he loves me. And his unconditional acceptance and support is why I love him right back.

I don’t quite understand the coincidence known as “you spend time with your family and all of a sudden you want to revert to your childhood and eat things like Hamburger Helper, Little Debbie snack cakes, Kool-Aid, and bowls and bowls of neapolitan ice cream with Hershey’s syrup.” But, I was severely suffering from that phenomenon yesterday. Several times, my mom asserted that she didn’t want to derail my cleansing efforts so that I shouldn’t worry about their hunger or taking them out to eat. But, she instilled in me better hosting skills than that. I insisted that I’d be fine with them eating and that I would just enjoy spending time with them. So, after we got done hanging out here and then going next door to plant some flowers at Jere’s mom’s place (who passed away in October), we decided to go to a nice family-favorite restaurant about 20 minutes away. I armed myself with my lemonade and some peppermint tea, as a special treat, and said a quick prayer that God would help me through the temptation.

All in all, I got through it just fine. Luckily, we have a very active daughter who didn’t want to sit beyond a bite of pea salad and one pasta noodle (I never thought I would consider that lucky until now). So, while the rest of the fam enjoyed their roast turkey dinner (Pops), pot roast (Mom), and eggplant parm (Jere, of course), I shadowed Kaya as she toddled about the restaurant. On her journeys, Kaya happened upon the dying embers of a wedding reception and spent a good rest of our adventure running to the room adjacent to the festivities, from where she could hear the music. She provided crowd entertainment by doing the Kaya shuffle (which is comprised of minimal hand usage and a very subtle bend of the knee in time to the beat, all of which MUST take place on wood floor and not carpet). Everyone loved her and cooed over her and gave her lots of free stuff. What is it about a cute, mini-sized human that inspires people to just want to give things away? She left with three balloons, some wedding favors, and an offer of a to-go container full of wedding cake, which I reluctantly denied her. The irony was not lost on me that there was an entire bottom tier of a wedding cake thick with sugary frosting flowers left behind after the reception, (which the staff was begging for people to take as much of as they wanted) juxtaposed with me. . . a starving girl. I chuckled with God at how temptation doesn’t play by the rules and was most certainly cheating at the game. But, I envisioned Him shrugging His shoulders and saying, “I never told you it would be easy.” However, He did promise me that He would help me through it, and He did. I left with nary a lick of icing in my tummy. Victory!

At the end of the day, I would say that my energy level has been outstanding and my hunger level minimal. And more importantly, I’m over the hump. Just four more days and I get to upgrade to orange juice. That’s the upside. The downside is that I’m getting quite tired of the lemonade and I am SOOOO over the SWF. But, ever the Polyanna, I will choose to look at the bright side. Day 6: Temptation conquered.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 5: June 12, 2009

Yet another good day with less and less hunger and thoughts of food, although the SWF is getting as irritating as that woman’s voice from “The Nanny.” Can’t think of her name right now. I could probably go for a full month on this regimen if it meant I didn’t have to do the SWF for another five days. Better yet, I'd actually watch every episode of "The Nanny" if it meant no more SWFs for me. Ugh.

But, the flush does what it’s supposed to do, so I guess that’s the bright side of drinking two teaspoons of salt for breakfast. Grossness alert, so avert your eyes if you’re scared of poop talk: I’m surprised that there is still solid stuff coming out this long after not eating, but since there is, it’s clear that something is definitely working.

I was able to go to the gym today, which is my first time in over a month. I hate how easily I can get knocked off my routine of eating well and going to the gym. It seems like any short or long time away from home will set me back a week for every three days away. So, since I was gone for half the month of May, missing a full month is the result. I’ve got to get better about that.

Anyway, I intended on taking it easy at the gym. . . that seemed like the most logical course of action. But, once I got there, my weird competitiveness thing took over and I did my full routine: 5 minutes of warm-up, 30 minutes of weight training (either upper or lower body, depending on the day--today was upper), and then 35 minutes of cardio. I usually do at least 40 minutes of cardio, but given my unique situation, I decided to hold back a bit and I only got up to 3.5 mph (slower than normal) with an incline of 2 on the treadmill (far less steep than normal). I was worried that if I pushed too hard, I would pass out and get taken away on a stretcher. For that same reason, I also avoided the sauna. Whenever possible, I look to avoid public humiliation.

I am getting really geared up for my 30 day raw food challenge, though I could get geared up to eat laminate flooring at this stage in the game. After the gym, I visited our local health food store and found a couple of items that will come in handy while going raw, like agave syrup (used as a sweetener for raw goodies). They also have bins of raw nuts that I almost stuck my face into with mouth wide open. I’m really getting some practice at self-control. Believe me; it was sorely needed.

As I was telling my mom about this cleanse today on the phone, she once again proved herself to be the best mom on the planet. Instead of passing judgment or telling me that I should get my head examined, she merely asked, “And how long do you have to do this cleanse?” When I told her five more days, she said, “Well, you’re halfway there. You can do it.” I love supportive people who encourage you even when they don’t understand a spit of what you’re doing or why. There aren’t enough people in the world like this.

Another cranial evolution has happened to me as a result of this experience. All of a sudden, I’m much more concerned about buying organic and unprocessed foods. I’m also much less concerned with putting on make-up or fixing my hair. And the products I do use, such as toothpaste and shampoo, suddenly need to be all natural. Don’t worry. Even though I can feel myself evolving into a hippie, I promise that for the moment I will continue to shave my legs and underarms. (But I must emphasize “for the moment.” I make no promises beyond that.)

Again, I’m sure this is primarily psychosomatic. Just as I’ve been obsessed with cleaning the house all week, I’m sure my new affinity for all things natural just has to do with what I think must be happening on my insides. Or, perhaps, it IS a result of my mind becoming clearer and my awareness sharpening to the fact that the stuff you put on your skin and scalp, as well as the environment you live in DOES affect your health and well-being. It’s best to keep it all clean, natural, and as close to its original state as possible. Doesn’t that just make sense?

All I can say is, it’s about time that my lifestyle started to match my sensibility. I’ve been a hippie in my beliefs for a while now. I guess it’s time I started living like one, minus the hairy pits, of course . . . for now.

Well, I’m gonna call it a day. Lexi lent me her copy of “My Sister’s Keeper,” which I’ve been dying to read, and I splurged yesterday and bought some detox Masada Salts for the bath. (Expensive, but well worth it.) So, it looks like it’s bath-tea-book time for me. And that is how I’ll end day 5.

P.S. The woman from “The Nanny” is Fran Drescher. Just thought of it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 4: June 11, 2009

Still going. . . . and today was fantastic. I felt good all day: high energy, focused, motivated, even-tempered (except for a few moments of understandable frustration when dealing with a toddler’s “logic,” or lack thereof), and not really hungry. I had a growling tummy, maybe, twice today that I recall. Food temptation is also getting easier. The primal urge is waning.

I hope this cleanse is helping me become less self-immersed. I have noticed over the last two days that my thoughts and feelings are much more focused outwards than inwards. It is almost as if a veil has been lifted from before my eyes . . . a veil that has inhibited me from really listening to people and being present in the moment. Now, I don’t know what is actually going on in my body. I admit that there’s a chance that detoxing is just a bunch of hooey. I know that Western medicine doesn’t generally accept it as effective or necessary, since one’s body automatically detoxes on its own. But, I also don’t put much stock in Western medicine since it is controlled by multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies whose aim is to keep people sick and on expensive prescriptions. And, of course, this is just one of the problems corrupting the business of health in the West. But, that’s for another day.

The bottom line is, whether the sense of a lifted veil is a result of toxins being purged, whether it’s wholly psychosomatic, or whether there is some other biological cause that I don’t know about, I feel like a better version of myself because of it. I hope it keeps up and becomes even more manifest, since the world could certainly benefit from one less self-absorbed girl. (Don’t worry. I understand the irony in the last sentence as I write about myself on a blog created by myself :

Part of it is pretty simple, I suppose. Because I can’t cook or prepare food or shop for myself, my thoughts about food obviously shift exclusively to my husband and daughter and their needs. Today’s shopping trip to the Co-op (my first time and it was amazing!) was completely focused on what good tasting, handy, and healthy foods I could get that my daughter and husband would enjoy. I bought them things that I wouldn’t have bought for myself, necessarily. But, I also really savored the experience of being IN the grocery story and smiling at the patrons and the people working there, of looking, feeling, and smelling the fresh produce and marveling at all the natural, bright colors. It made me appreciate food in a whole new way. And, most importantly, I was grateful to God for providing us with such a wide array of raw foods that look so amazing.

It’s a shame that processed foods ever came into existence. It must make God kind of sad, like what He provided for us wasn’t good enough so we had to fiddle with it, cook it, add fake stuff to it, color it, preserve it, and then package it in materials that will outlast hundreds of generations. It’s like putting hours into baking a homemade cake for your kid’s birthday party and then having her tell you she wants the generic one from the bakery at the grocery store instead. Ouch.

Fasting also completely changes what I cook and how I feel about my cooking. Tonight, I catered the entire menu to what Jere and Kaya would like, as I did last night (though I really would have liked what they had last night, too. Although, honestly, I’d probably eat cow’s brain if it were offered to me. My palate is not too discretionary at the moment). I made broccoli, sweet potato pancakes, and barley. If I were making food for myself, I would have definitely thrown in some type of protein. But, I knew that Jere would be content with just that (in fact, he probably would have been even happier if I had substituted beet greens for the barley—he’s my veggie boy). And I wasn’t disappointed as I was preparing the meal, thinking, “Oh, I’d really like to eat this.” Instead, I was thinking, “I’m so glad that this food will taste good and provide healthy sustenance for the people I love. I don’t have to eat it myself to enjoy it.” I count that as a real breakthrough.

A few people have expressed their concern to me about this cleanse. While I appreciate the fact that they presumably want me on the planet and do not want me to die of starvation, I find their concern hyperbolic. The general reaction to a cleanse this drastic is, “Are you for real? You must be crazy. What would possess you to do that? That’s really unhealthy.” (Okay. I kinda jumbled together a bunch of reactions I’ve gotten.) But, as I was deciding whether to do the cleanse or not this past month, I often thought about how frequently “fasting” is a part of recorded history. Historically, fasting is an important part of every major religion. The Bible tells of several instances of fasting; in fact, Christ fasted for 40 days when he was communing with the Holy. It’s also interesting that when Moses descended from Mt. Sinai after 40 days of fasting and connecting with God, the Israelites said he was “glowing.” Common knowledge is that he was glowing because he had been in the presence of God, but I wonder how much the act of fasting enabled him to interact with the spiritual on far deeper levels than if he was scarfing down a big ol’ bowl of lamb stew. “Food for thought” is an appropriate aphorism here.

Being hungry is uncomfortable, but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It’s just a sensation, like a headache, an itch, or a sore throat. Too often, I think, we rush to fix the uncomfortable, instead of just living in it and trying to see if there’s anything we can learn from it. One time shortly before I was married, I was deathly ill for a whole month. I had sinusitis, bronchitis, and a double ear infection. The reason I got so sick was because I was teaching my brains out (16 hour days, 6 days a week) and didn’t have the time to go see a doctor when my symptoms of sinusitis first developed. Many days I wouldn’t take anything for the pain as I didn’t like feeling foggy from the Dayquil. I only started to take a cough suppressant when I couldn’t make it through a lecture without going into scary coughing fits (talking is a pretty important part of teaching). At one point, I remember thinking that I might die and actually believed it with my whole heart. But, when I finally got better, I was so very happy to feel well and I remember relishing the feeling of health for weeks afterwards. If I had medicated myself the entire time, I never would have appreciated to the fullest depths how good it felt to be “not sick.”

I suppose that’s enough philosophy for one day. And I guess it’s official. With the fourth day of the fast over and done with, I have officially lost my funny. Insert sad face here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 3: June 10, 2009

Weight: 165.5

I had no intention of posting my ongoing cleanse weight on this blog, but I was so astonished to have lost 5.5 lbs. in 2 days that I reconsidered and decided it was blogworthy. In fact, I wasn’t even going to step on the scale again after my initial weigh-in on day 1, but my curiosity got the better of me, and my will-power to stay off the scale became nil-power. But, I figure if I’m gonna let my self-control slip up, better this than a big ol' fried chicken pizza slathered in hot fudge sundae with Cheetos for dessert. Let me get out of this paragraph before it becomes unbearable.

So, it was a big day at the Kendall house today. Around 3:30 this afternoon, I heard a deep, diesel rumbling coming down our dirt road and looked outside to see a very large dump truck towing a very large excavator up the driveway. This was not a surprise to me or else I might have had similar feelings as Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a great series, if you haven’t read it). Luckily, they were not coming to demolish our house, only our yard. Where grass once peacefully lay, there are now two large dirt squares, with one more being dug up tomorrow. These three sites will be our summer garden plots, assuming we get some seeds in before winter comes, which, given our location, could come as early as next week. Up in these parts, you learn not to get too attached to the sun.

Along with the heavy machinery, we had several men milling about, wielding rakes and shovels and roto-tillers, muscles rippling, testosterone spurting out everywhere. Kaya was a little in awe and scared out of her mind, as was I. We sat far away from danger and gawked like teenage girls at a college football practice.

It was a nice distraction from any preoccupation I might have had with feeling crummy or eating the refrigerator, though today went remarkably better than yesterday. I was about 60% functional today, whereas yesterday I was hanging out around 10%. That’s a pretty reasonable increase, I’d say. The hunger pangs weren’t nearly as strong, either. Hopefully I’m done with the really hard part. They say you turn a corner after day 3 or 4.

The lemonade tastes good again today, though the acid has officially burned a hole through my tongue. It’s okay, though. It will save me the money on the piercing. Perhaps my batch yesterday was destroyed by a bad lemon. You know what they say about a bad lemon. No? Is it only bad apples that can ruin a bushel? That hardly seems fair. I shall file a complaint with the proverb department for unfair discrimination against citrus fruits. Oh dear. I think I lost more of my funny.

The SWF went better on both the entering and the exiting. I had a pretty productive exit, which was satisfying because I know the contents of the exit were probably not any food I’ve had recently. The myth is that at any given time a person can have 5 to 15 lbs. of petrified fecal matter in their small and large intestine. I’m sure your reaction is the same as mine, but I’ll say what we’re thinking anyway just in case you’re a proctologist and you think petrified excrement is neat-o. DISGUSTING ewwwy grossishness!!!! I want that OUT of my body. Pronto.

The hardest part of the day was making supper for Kaya and Jere. Jere has been a dear and bought himself lots of sandwich fixins’ so that I don’t have to worry about preparing him dinner at night, as he doesn’t want to deposit me right in the brambles of temptation. But, I decided that since he had been all manly and cute with his crew of guys over doing man stuff in the yard, I would tough it out and make him something he wanted. He asked for egg noodles, which just happens to be my top 5 favorite things to eat. So what? I like a good challenge. So, I went about preparing not only the noodles with butter, parmesan, and lemon olive oil, but also a faux ground beef (Morning Star soy beef crumbles) sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and diced onion to put over top of it and some green beans as a side. Oh me, oh my. I’m masochistic.

It took every single last willpower neuron in my brain to stop me from taking a wee little taste or licking my fingers. Have you ever tried to cook and NOT taste what you’re cooking? It’s very, very hard. But, I tried to be “in the moment” and relish the experience of providing sustenance for my family, all the while enjoying the sweet and pungent smells of onion and garlic. Have I mentioned that I just now decided that I want to be buried in a sautéed onion and garlic patch when I die? Mmmmmm.

I happily plated the food for my little toddler and looked longingly as she investigated it with her fingers. I told her, “Eat, Kaya. It’s good. Mmmmm.” She smiled at me, looked at her fork, stabbed a green bean with it, plopped it in her mouth and then said, “Done?” as she handed me her plate. I pleaded with her to take more bites, but she shook her head resolutely and said “no,” with a lilt on the “o” that almost makes it sound like she’s asking you a question. Believe me. She’s not. So, I failed at living vicariously through my child. Let this be a lesson to me now, so that I won’t try to enroll her in gymnastics, ballet, art school, culinary school, law school, a PhD program in English, etc. etc. Oh, the wasteland of my one-time dreams.

As I finish this up, the crickets are chirping outside our living room window, a hint of summer is prickling the air, my “Get Regular” tea is brewing away, the Red Sox are two outs away from another victory over the Yankees (that’ll be eight wins in a row against the Evil Empire), the baby is fed, bathed, and sleeping peacefully, the dog is curled up contentedly beside me, and I’ve made it through another day of this cleanse. Surely, this is la pura vida.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 2: June 9, 2009

My fellow cleanser, Lexi, sent me this little gem last night: “After several days many Master Cleanse dieters report entering a state of bliss that is either the result of the continuing elimination of toxins, or else a state similar to the tranquil experience that people who are starving to death have shortly before dying.” Ahhhha. Classic.

As I awoke this morning, I was very aware of my body being sore. I’m fairly certain this has to do with my little surge of worker bee yesterday, but I would be thrilled if it were a sign of detoxification. I do not think that is possible just yet. . . it’ll probably take longer than one day or else this darn fast wouldn’t be 10 days long.

So as wonderful and “Tigger” bouncy as I felt yesterday, I feel as close to the opposite of that today. I am lackluster, foggy, droopy, uncomfortable, listless. I am grey. It is raining and damp, which always affects my physical and mental state. I used to love a rainy day, and I still do in theory—the cuddly-up, hot chocolate, fleece blanket, good book part of it. But as I’ve gotten older, I find that rainy or overcast days really affect my well-being. I can not get motivated on rainy days. I usually eat a bunch of junky food. I’m a tad bit cranky (or maybe a lot bit cranky—hubby would be a better judge of that). So, we have all that going on today. Add in there that I’m hungry, and you have a pretty miserable, joyless girl. I also think I lost my funny, so if funny is what you’re after, you better look at my two archived posts. Maybe a side effect of this detox is that you cleanse out your funny. That would be a shame.

The SWF went much better today on the drinking end. I found that in this particular case, the colder is NOT the better. I tried luke warm and that went remarkably better. I was able to chug a liter in three gulps, which would be especially handy if I were in a contest at a frat party. Shout out to my peeps at Kappa Gamma Delta! (My apologies if I just made up a REAL fraternity/sorority.)

The SWF went much worse on the exiting end. Yesterday, I was able to get rid of the SWF after a couple of sittings. Today took me over an hour and several sittings, which is not the easiest as you are trying to mother a needy toddler with a pretty inflexible morning routine. Luckily, we have purchased her a “potty” in preparation for potty-training and she quite enjoys sitting on it while mama sits on hers. Needless to say, Kaya got a lot of practice on her potty sitting skills today.

On the upside, I haven’t felt sick or been attacked by killer headaches, which was something people warned me about. I have been on the brink of several headaches, but have been able to ward them off with some heavy swills of H20. I’m getting quite adept at drinking on this cleanse, a skill that I probably didn’t need any help in perfecting. I have felt dizzy a couple times today. This would not really be a problem if lying prostrate was allowed, but my boss (Kaya) doesn’t allow loafing on the job.

One challenge of the day has been any challenge whatsoever. In other words, any slight complication to a simple task caused me to feel as if the world was ending. Kaya had an especially toddler-esque lunch time. She cried out for yogurt, but when I got it out of the fridge and offered it to her, she screamed and clamped her mouth shut. Then, I tried to feed her (scream); then, I tried to give her the spoon (scream); I tried to feed her (nope); I tried to give her the spoon (SCREAM!!!). I put the yogurt away—more screaming. I got the yogurt back out—more screaming and clamping of the mouth. I put the yogurt away for the third time. . . well, the point is, this went on for some time. Jere, who is as severe with discipline as a baby bunny, actually gave her a time-out. I don’t know which of the three of us was more shocked.

Most challenges of the day would not have been challenging at all to a normal, well or moderately well-fed individual—that not being me. As I was putting some paper bags away, I knocked off a few envelopes from Jere’s filing cabinet and almost started crying. I just knew that the effort it would take to put them back was more than I could exert. I thought about leaving them there on the floor, but then my brain kicked in (briefly) and told me to cowboy up and put them back, which I did successfully without incident. I DID shed tears when Big Papi hit a home run and received a curtain call at Fenway. But, let’s be honest. I probably would have cried over that regardless of any cleanse.

Again I was reminded of the psychological need to eat many times today. Even when my stomach didn’t “feel” hungry, I found my hand going toward my mouth with whatever food was close to the hand. This was especially dangerous when there were some tater tots and magic cookie bars close to that hand. I told Jere he had to clean out the pan with the remaining cookie bars (a treat I made for a mom’s picnic last Thursday) since I could not be trusted in their general vicinity, and luckily, Kaya ate all her tater tots and did her part at eradicating temptation for me. But it was a far stronger urge today than yesterday, which made me believe that there is some primal instinct taking over my body. Maybe I should audition for Survivor.

One more complaint: the lemonade wasn’t nearly as tasty today. And it made my teeth hurt. But, on the bright side, I have some nice minty tea waiting for me now, the Red Sox beat the tar out of the Yankees, Big Papi seems to be out of his season-long slump, and another day of this cleanse is almost over. Day 2 is in the blog books.

Day 1 on Master Cleanse: June 8, 2009

Current weight: 171 lbs. : (

I am very sad about reporting my weight, though I know that I deserve that number, as I’ve been excessively indulgent this last month. But to think that I was 162.5 on my weigh-in before I went to Minnesota on May 6, which means I’ve gained 8.5 lbs in about a month. Yikes. This just reiterates my need to psychologically change my understanding of what food is for. Too often, I eat out of craving or because it’s what I think will taste the best. I really hope that cleansing will help me change this pattern of behavior.

So, speaking of unhealthy eating habits, my last meal last night was a good one. . . I rationalized it by saying I might never have cooked foods again (that would be a victory, huh?). (Note: there is some very good advice out there that you should do an “ease-in” to the Master Cleanse. I decided not to because I’ve done cleanses before, though nothing this drastic, and had been eating a relatively healthy diet for four months just a month before I started. If you are used to lots of overly processed foods and fast foods, it makes a lot of sense to ease-in, as to not shock the system more than the MC already will.) So, I indulged on Crab Rangoon and Pad Sa-Eaw (Thai food), which is a yummy rice noodle dish bathed in dark soy sauce. Jere (husband) rocks for going to the local Thai joint (one of the only restaurants in our tiny town, and luckily a GOOD Thai restaurant at that) and pampering me before I was a dead woman walking.

I drank Yogi’s “Get Regular” tea afterwards and looked with anticipation to the day ahead.

Unfortunately, I ate the Thai food too late last night, so I woke up STARVING. That always happens to me when I eat too late. . . usually any time after 7 is dangerous. I guess this just reiterates what my father and other health professionals always say. Don’t eat after 7 PM! It’s like feeding the gremlins after midnight. Bad things will happen.

No matter. My resolve is strong. I made Kaya her breakfast. . . she only wants Cheerios with soy milk these days. I buy her multigrain so I don’t feel as bad about it. But, I coerced her into some scrambled eggs and prunes as well. I actively ignored the Morning Star prosage links staring at me from the freezer. . . one of my favorite breakfast foods.

I did my first salt water flush (SWF) first thing in the morning. I gotta say that it was more than just mildly disgusting. I had flashbacks of almost drowning at Cape Hatteras my freshman year of college, except during that episode my skull was being crushed against a jetty as I was guzzling the salt water. I wonder if I might have been a nuclear physicist or something else ultra-genius if that brain trauma hadn’t happened? Anyway, I remember thinking as I was drinking the solution this morning, “I’d rather be having a baby than drinking this crap.” Maybe I can make that into a bumper sticker. “I’d rather be having a baby than looking at you” or “I’d rather be having a baby than listening to Dick Cheney”. . . insert wittiness here.

On a positive note, I rather enjoyed the effects of the SWF. After about 30 minutes, I started feeling some churning “down there.” Then, about 10 minutes later, I rushed to the bathroom and what happened next is probably best described as a water slide rushing out of your bung hole. Totally tubular! For all the constipation I’ve had throughout my life, I’m amazed that no one ever told me of this natural fix-it. If you haven’t done it for yourself, you should totally check it out. It almost makes the revolting part of drinking the salt water worthwhile.

So, with that part accomplished, I proceeded to fix my “lemonade.” Luckily, Jere (again, a rockin’ husband) bought me a juicer around Thanksgiving when my gallbladder was on a very violent strike (throwing punches, spraying mace, laying in front of tanks, and what not) after over-indulging at Liz and Neal’s friend Thanksgiving. So, juicing my four lemons was a piece of lemon cake with lemon icing (soooo hungry as I write this), and the juice I got was enough for my entire allotment of lemonade for the day. I carefully measured out my lemon juice, maple syrup (Grade B), and cayenne pepper, and then filled my snappy, green Camelbak water bottle (BPA-free!) up to the 32 ounce mark. I reluctantly took a sip and was pleasantly surprised. Spicy Countrytime! Okay, not exactly, but after the SWF, it tasted like gourmet cocktail hour.

It struck me very early into the day how psychologically dependent on food I am. I began to feel depressed since I couldn’t look forward to what I was going to eat that day. I explained these thoughts to Jere and he said, “Hmmm. I kinda think of eating as a chore. I wish I didn’t have to interrupt my day doing it.” After I got over my feelings of wanting to bop him on the nose, I got down and dirty with my psyche (a fun past time, if you’ve never tried it). How much of my life has been wasted thinking of what I was going to eat later; or been taken over by cravings for a certain food to the extent that I HAD to have it or suffer being obsessed with the thought of it for the next several days! All these times I could have been living in the present, enjoying whatever wonderful, profound, simple thing life offers on a daily basis. Alright. I’ll stop getting all zen on you.

So, I don’t know if it was the SWF or the fresh juice or the maple syrup or the pepper or the beautiful 70 degree weather, but I had boundless energy this first day. I went into deep cleaning mode and was able to get to every room on the main floor (our basement is beyond hope, I’m afraid). Here and there I would feel pangs of hunger, but I would take a swig of lemonade and go about my manic cleaning spree. Perhaps, psychologically, since I knew there was cleaning being done on the inside, I wanted my external environment to also be clean? I don’t know, but I’m thrilled by this turn of events, as is my husband.

Many times throughout the day, I had to remind myself that I was not allowed to eat. Obviously, it is just about automatic: hunger = refrigerator. Compound that with the fact that I have a 19 month old daughter (holy moley! I just realized that my baby girl is 19 months exactly today!) to feed, and any mother knows that it is easy to get into the habit of “cleaning” your child’s plate for him/her. Well, I managed to stop myself mid-grab on several occasions. Phew. Luckily, my brain took over, which perhaps indicates that my brain is getting fixed. Well, looky here. The cleanse is working already!

Our internet access was finally reinstated (or whatever “techie” term you might use) around 9:00 PM, at which point I went online and read some other blogs of people’s first days on the MC. Around 10:00 PM, I had a refreshing cup of Yogi tea, and was not hungry at all after I finished it. I made it through Day 1!

My Master Cleanse Experience (an intro)

June 8, 2009

Okay. So, here goes. As it so happens, this was supposed to be a live post, but I’m Microsoft wording it since internet has died in the whole State of Vermont today, apparently. What a day for this to happen! I would have loved to have the façade of community support, at least, through online blogging and the distraction that being online provides, especially since we live in a small house and at any point in time, I am in close proximity to the kitchen, a room which I am trying to avoid . . . furthermore, I love the internet because of the relative ease in which one can get one’s questions answered. . . like, did I use too much salt in my SWF (salt water flush) this morning or does anyone else get a caffeine-like buzz from drinking the lemonade or what does it look like exactly when you poop out an alien’s head? Oh well. Hopefully, Fairpoint is working on the solution to my interrupted connectivity at this very moment.

So, I should probably articulate the reasons I am doing this cleanse. I think it’s important to write them down not only for myself, but also to try and explain drinking a quart of saltwater and 2 quarts of a lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper concoction everyday. I mean, c’mon. Who the heck is this Burroughs guy and how in the world did he have a job? Has anyone made sure that this guy wasn’t really joking when he made this thing up? Cause it really reads like a fake cleanse, and I feel embarrassed explaining it to people who have never heard of it. I might as well be telling them that my mother is a wombat and my father created air. This “cleanse” is equally ridiculous. But, my baby sister talked me into it. So, there.

Anyway, back on track. Here are my reasons, in no particular order:

1) I have some serious health challenges that I hope to better. (Gallstones, digestive system dysfunction, pituitary system out of whack, brain damage, etc.)
2) I have an addiction to food and I need to get it under control. What better way than to cut out the addicting substance altogether? Hopefully, giving up food for 10 days will help me “reset” my psychology and help me begin to look at food as sustenance instead of just pleasure.
3) My metabolism is as slow as a tortoise-sloth riding a rickshaw being pulled by a herd of two-legged cats. (FYI—a tortoise-sloth is a new breed of animal that sauntered into existence when a tortoise and a sloth got it on. Random fact about their sexual encounter: it went on for about seven months until finally one of them ejaculated V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y). Back to my metabolism. During four months of a low-glycemic, 1200 calorie diet and exercising 3 – 5 times a week (cardio and strength training) and sauna usage and 64 ounces of water daily, I lost 15.5 lbs. Now, that’s nothing to sneeze at, but 16 weeks x 2 lbs. a week (average weight loss for someone my size, weight, and gender) = 32 lbs. On paper, that is what I should have lost. Now, paper and reality are not the same. This I know. But, I still think that the conclusion that I have a very slow metabolism is justified, seeing as I lost less than half of the average. I’m hoping that this cleanse might kick my metabolism’s ass and get it to put some urgency into how it does things.
4) I want to push the boundaries of what I think I can accomplish. I have a hard time even skipping a meal. . . can I really go 10 days without eating??? Admittedly, there is a bit of competition involved here. I know other people who have done this cleanse successfully. If they can do it, then I can too, and, goshdarnit, I can detox better than them. I remember in college how it was a badge of honor to go longer than anyone else at not sleeping. Especially around finals, half the fun of procrastinating papers and projects was so you could pull all-nighters with your friends and then brag about it to everyone else. One time, I stayed up for 52 hours straight. I think I won that round. I’m still tired after that, ten years later. I wonder if I’ll be hungry for 10 years after I finish this cleanse. . .
5) I really want to try eating raw vegan, but I know that it will be a HARD transition. I think that by easing into the raw vegan diet by doing a ridiculously drastic cleanse will somehow make it easier. I’ve read that after you’re done with the Master Cleanse, you crave raw, living healthy foods, like tree bark and grass. I know that I would not crave these foods under any other circumstances. On the contrary, I crave sugary, decadent, fatty deliciousness wrapped in plastic. Not good for my ass or my gall bladder.
6) Let’s be honest here. I need to lose a few pounds. Let’s be more honest. Maybe more than a few. This is my final and least and/or most important reason, depending on what outfit I’m wearing (i.e. sweatpants or pre-maternity jeans). I’ve found that the tighter my clothes fit on me is directly related to how disgusting I feel after I eat something. Thus why I usually opt for the sweatpants.